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Catholic Nurses Use Faith and Fellowship to Become 'Hands and Feet of Christ'

A nurse discusses patient care amid the coronavirus pandemic at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City on August 24, 2021. (CNS Photo/Nick Oxford, Reuters)


DOYLESTOWN, Pennsylvania (CNS) — Catholic nurses draw on faith, fellowship and fortitude to navigate an increasingly complex healthcare environment, says World on Nursing held in Doylestown. conference participants said.

Members of the Catholic Nurses Association of America gathered at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa on August 2-4 for a global conference that blends spirituality with details of best practices in the field.

With its origins dating back to the early 20th century, NACN-USA promotes Catholic ethical principles in nursing while promoting professional development through educational programs, psycho-formation, patient advocacy, and integration of faith and health.

This non-profit organization is part of CICIAMS (French acronym for International Catholic Commission for Nurses and Medical Social Workers) co-sponsored by Congress.

Cardinal Peter Turkson greeted the conference delegates on behalf of the Vatican, in particular the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, of which he is Rector.

As a “noble and gracious service,” the Cardinal said, nursing “should be[rooted]in a genuine human ecosystem.”

Cardinal Turkson said that nurses themselves are “people who have successfully overcome their vulnerabilities to provide antidotes and solutions to those who suffer.”

Along the way, Catholic nurses “are finding challenges there,” said Janet Munday, a registered nurse and chair of the NCAN-USA communications committee.

Cases involving gender dysphoria, for example, “are a difficult place for Catholic nurses,” she said. “We want to protect the dignity and compassion of our patients, but we also want to tell them the truth.”

Abortion is moving to chemical rather than surgical procedures, and the level of nurse involvement is declining, but many nurses “(refuse) to participate in surgical sterilization” Former NCAN-USA President Sherrill Hetman said he faces backlash over the matter.

The ethical and moral dilemmas surrounding end-of-life care are one reason critical care nurse Christina Freeman turned to NCAN-USA for “solidarity and guidance.”

Freeman works at a Level 1 trauma surgery center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he has seen “everything from open heart surgery to mass casualties” and has seen “a great deal of suffering.” said there is.

In that pain, Catholic nurses “have the opportunity to become the hands and feet of Christ,” she said.

“The motive is that they serve God and follow Jesus, the Physician of God,” said the President of Parliament, author of “Quieting the Storm: Navigating the Crises Facing the Catholic Church and Society.” Father Gerald Murray said.

“Nurses treat patients not only physically but also mentally, showing love and concern,” said the priest, an Orthodox lawyer and current pastor of the Church of the Holy Family in New York City.

Teresa Dubak Sipos, a psychiatric nurse, serves as a nurse pastor at Ohio State Mental Health Hospital.

Focused on patients struggling with both behavioral and substance abuse problems, Sipos hosts regular spiritual care groups and interfaith services, leads prayers, discusses the Bible, and provides “Spiritual Distress Nursing.” creating a care plan.

She said the level of faith among her patients was “amazing” and the results were sometimes dramatic.

Sipos recalled being called in by a doctor to help a young man who had to be restrained for a psychotic outburst.

“I prayed with him to our father, and he came out of his psychosis and started praying with us,” she said. … Since then he has done very well and is now praying for others.”

Catholic nurses “provide evidence-based practice,” fuse “the science of nursing with its art,” and derive by faith “the virtues of perseverance, perseverance, and understanding to observe patient well-being.” You can, said Mr. Munday.

Whether working in hospitals, clinics, schools, or elsewhere, the testimony of the Catholic Faith for each nurse “is different for each patient,” Freeman said. There is none.”

Simply “inviting the Doctor of God into your practice” is enough to radically change the level of care, she added.

“I have found that when I dedicate my day to God, when I dedicate my patients to God, I always have the opportunity to better serve my patients,” she said.

Christian is a senior content producer for, a news website for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.